The eight nights of Hanukkah.
A time to share family traditions. A time to reflect on the historical significance of the holiday. A time to nervously eye our toddlers as they run laps around the dinner table, with us hoping the glasses of Manischewitz miraculously avoid tumbling from the table.
There’s no doubt about it. Toddlers and Hanukkah go together like latkes and sour cream. Or is it toothpaste?
Let’s continue our celebration with a list of five ways toddlers are like Hanukkah.
1. Both toddlers and candles in the menorah have stamina that defies laws of physics.Both the candles in the menorah and toddlers burn brightly, flickering and dancing like they’re never going to burn out. But they have to extinguish eventually and retire for the day, we think. Still, the candles keep glowing. The toddler keeps screeching. Finally, there’s just one little stump of a candle left lit. Somehow that tiny candle remnant burns brightly for another hour, leaving a sticky, dripping mess behind.
2. Toddlers and Hanukkah both make us feel “gelty”. Hanukkah is hardly Hanukkah without some delicious chocolate “gelt.” And toddler parenting and guilt go hand-in-hand. Our toddlers love to make us feel guilty. Whether it’s because we won’t play blocks with them for the 10th time in a day, or because they want a third cookie, toddlers will inevitably try to tug at our heart strings at every turn: “Whyyyyyyy, Mommmyyyy?” At Hanukkah, they might even try to make us feel gelty over not giving them enough gelt. Treat yourself to another piece of gelt, and stay strong.
3. Toddlers and dreidels both spin, spin, and spin some more. The game involving the traditional Hanukkah spinning top is a favorite holiday pastime, especially with kids. The great thing about dreidels is they can spin anywhere. On the floor. On the couch. On Grandpa Eli’s bald head. Much like toddlers, who seem to never stop spinning–here, there, and everywhere. Until they’re dizzy. Until they crash into something or someone, like an elder or two.
4. Toddlers and Hanukkah both inspire us to indulge in a glass of wine–or four. Hanukkah is a holiday for catching up with family we haven’t seen in awhile, laughing over a glass of wine, or maybe a few, while we wait for dinner to be served. After all, brisket and latkes take time to cook, and we can only take so many of Aunt Bessie’s jokes before we need some liquid encouragement to carry on. Much like how a hectic day with a toddler practically screams for a nice glass (or four) of Chardonnay once that little terror, er, precious sweetheart, is finally in bed.
5. Toddlers and Hanukkah are both totally awesome. Let’s be honest. Hanukkah is a pretty cool holiday. What other holiday do we get and give presents for eight nights in a row? Plus, we are able to spend time with our loved ones, eat out-of-this-world food, and be part of cherished ancient traditions. Toddlers are pretty neat, too. They’re smart beyond their years, hilariously funny, and keep us on our toes. They also give really good hugs. When they want to. Latkes with toothpaste sound kind of interesting, anyway.